HAROLD D. JORDAN, Claimant Below, Petitioner
SPARTAN MINING COMPANY, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051421, Claim No. 2014001955
Harold D. Jordan, by Reginald Henry, his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Spartan Mining Company, by Timothy Huffman,
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue presented in the instant appeal is Mr. Jordan's
request for a permanent partial disability award. On January
20, 2015, the claims administrator granted Mr. Jordan a 0%
permanent partial disability award. The Office of Judges
affirmed the claims administrator's decision on July 8,
2016. This appeal arises from the Board of Review's Final
Order dated November 21, 2016, in which the Board affirmed
the Order of the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges.
The Court has carefully reviewed the records, written
arguments, and appendices contained in the briefs, and the
case is mature for consideration.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate
Jordan injured his lower back while maneuvering a cable on
July 1, 2013, during the course of his employment with
Spartan Mining Company. He initially sought treatment in
Welch Community Hospital's emergency department for
ongoing lower back pain on July 15, 2013. X-rays were
performed and revealed degenerative disc disease and facet
disease, and Mr. Jordan was diagnosed with an acute
myofascial strain and lower back pain. A subsequent lumbar
spine MRI revealed degenerative disc disease and facet
arthropathy. On July 30, 2013, the claim was held compensable
for a lumbosacral joint ligament sprain.
Jordan underwent three independent medical evaluations for
the purpose of determining the amount of whole person
impairment arising from the compensable injury. Joseph Grady,
M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation on January
13, 2015, and authored a report memorializing his findings on
the same date. Dr. Grady noted that Mr. Jordan's lumbar
flexion and extension measurements did not satisfy the
validity criteria. Additionally, he found no objective
evidence of radiculopathy. Dr. Grady determined that Mr.
Jordan did not exhibit any abnormalities in range of motion
and opined that Mr. Jordan sustained 0% whole person
impairment as a result of the July 1, 2013, injury. The
claims administrator granted Mr. Jordan a 0% permanent
partial disability award on January 20, 2015.
Walker, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation on
July 31, 2015, and authored a report memorializing his
findings on the same date. Dr. Walker noted that he obtained
valid range of motion measurements and, after applying West
Virginia Code of State Rules § 85-20-Table C (2006),
opined that Mr. Jordan sustained 8% whole person impairment
as a result of range of motion abnormalities in the lumbar
spine. He did not apportion any percentage of the whole
person impairment rating to the well-documented pre-existing
condition affecting the lumbar spine.
Prasadarao Mukkamala, M.D., performed an independent medical
evaluation on February 3, 2016, and authored a report
memorializing his findings on February 8, 2016. Dr. Mukkamala
opined that Mr. Jordan's ongoing symptoms are
attributable to non-compensable degenerative
spondyloarthropathy. He also noted that he obtained valid
range of motion measurements and, after applying the West
Virginia Code of State Rules § 85-20-Table C, opined
that Mr. Jordan has 13% whole person impairment attributable
to range of motion deficits in the lumbar spine and an L5-S1
microdiscectomy performed in 1997. Dr. Mukkamala then opined
that the entirety of the 13% whole person impairment is
attributable to the significant preexisting lumbar spine
condition which required surgery in 1997. Therefore, he
concluded that Mr. Jordan sustained 0% whole person
impairment as a result of the July 1, 2013, injury.
Order affirming the January 20, 2015, claims
administrator's decision, the Office of Judges held that
Mr. Jordan failed to establish that he is entitled to a
permanent partial disability award for the July 1, 2013,
injury. The Board of Review affirmed the reasoning and
conclusions of the Office of Judges in its decision dated
November 21, 2016. On appeal, Mr. Jordan asserts, per the
opinion of Dr. Walker, that he is entitled to an 8% permanent
partial disability award for the July 1, 2013, injury.
Office of Judges found that the conclusions expressed in Dr.
Mukkamala's report represent the most accurate
calculation of the amount of Mr. Jordan's whole person
impairment arising from the July 1, 2013,
injury. The Office of Judges then found that Dr.
Grady's calculations are unreliable because he failed to
produce valid range of motion measurements. Finally, the
Office of Judges found that Dr. Walker failed to acknowledge
the occurrence of the 1997 discectomy and, likewise, failed
to apportion for pre-existing impairment attributable to the
procedure. We agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges, as affirmed by the Board of Review.
foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of
Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or
statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of
erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material
misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary
record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry II, Justice
Robin J. Davis, Justice Margaret L. Workman Justice Menis ...